This week, standing with North Rockland Superintendent Ileana Eckert, members of the school board, and various district residents and local stakeholders, Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski and Assemblyman James Skoufis announced that the Assembly One House Budget includes a proposal that would result in significant state aid to help the North Rockland community. The Assembly’s resolution includes proposals that would assist the district and its growing debt crisis stemming Mirant.
An additional $6-8 million in assistance is slotted for the district under the proposal. Skoufis noted that although this is not the final budget, members plan to advocate for inclusion of this piece in the final budget during negotiations between the governor and Senate.
“North Rockland is a district in crisis and we must act now before their unprecedented debt begins to dismantle their great educational programs. This proposal will bring significant aid to the district that will help alleviate their extraordinary debt issue and prevent the looming financial cliff that they face,” Assemblyman Zebrowski said.
The budget resolution provides assistance for school districts who have outstanding tax certiorari debt that is greater than their annual expenditures; making them eligible to receive building aid on their corresponding debt service. This will allow the district to obtain about 70 percent of the annual debt service from the state on the tax certiorari bonds similar to the process for construction projects, resulting in the additional $6-8 million in assistance.
“Each and every year, $11.5 million flies out the door to pay for North Rockland’s Mirant debt,” said Assemblyman Skoufis. “That’s millions of dollars not going to classrooms, not going to programs, not going to hire educators, and not relieving the overtaxed North Rockland community. The solution in the Assembly’s budget proposal that my colleague and I pushed so hard for will bring the district back from the precipice and ensure both taxpayers and students have a vibrant community to live and learn in.”
“The North Rockland Central School District has been engaged in a decade-long struggle for survival ever since Mirant hit our residents with two tax challenges. The efforts announced Monday by state Assembly Members Zebrowski and Skoufis will go a long way toward changing the District’s downward fiscal trajectory. On behalf of the students and families of Stony Point and Haverstraw, I thank Assembly Members Zebrowski and Skoufis for never giving up the fight in Albany. We also appreciate the continued support and efforts of Senator William Larkin for pushing forth companion legislation in the Senate. Now, let’s make certain Governor Cuomo does his part to deliver a long-term solution to our taxpayers,” North Rockland School District Superintendent Ileana Eckert said.
The deadline for an on-time budget is April 1, 2017.